November 18, 2020
SKILL OF THE WEEK: Gratitude
Dear Students, Families, and Teachers,
One of my favorite ways of managing stress and practicing mindfulness is by practicing gratitude.
As many of you may know, my mom passed away last Thursday. I have been sad and am still grieving. I wrote a letter to her and in the letter I thanked her for all of the gifts she has given me including kindness and love of children. Practicing gratitude has helped me cope with her loss.
I try to practice gratitude all the time. Gratitude is the ability to recognize and acknowledge the good things, people and places in our lives. Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given.
When we practice gratitude, it helps us feel better, improves our physical and mental health, and makes people feel better in the long run. The brain chemical serotonin is released and makes us feel happy when we practice gratitude. Scientists have found that higher levels of gratitude were associated with better sleep and lower stress, anxiety, and depression.
Take a moment right now and think about three things you are grateful for. Close your eyes and “see it”. Take a deep breath and say, “I am grateful for…my family, my house, my animals, my friends, etc.” We all can find something we are grateful for. Think about the people who support you and think of them and why you are grateful for them. I know alot of us
are spending a lot of time with our families these days with Covid. And I know that sometimes we get on each other’s nerves when we spend so much time together. I encourage you during the Thanksgiving Break when you spend time with your family to take a moment and stop. Look around and for one minute think about who and what you
are grateful for. It just takes one minute but the effects of practicing gratitude can help us feel happier and less stressed. Try to practice this everyday. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I try to do is drink a glass of water and name three things I am grateful for. This starts my day off in a positive way. If I am feeling stressed, I try to stop and take one minute to think about three things I am grateful for.
We wish you a good break next week and hope you can take some time to be with those you love, eat food you enjoy, and go outside and practice gratitude for the things we do have. If your family eats together on Thanksgiving, take a moment to practice mindful eating. Think about how good the food tastes and practice gratitude for all those that have worked to bring the food to us, farmworkers, grocery store workers, family members, etc. Try to let your thoughts focus on the good in our world.